Author Archives: lindaseccaspina

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton



 On July 20, 1899, another fatal lightening strike in the Carleton Place area was added to the season’s list. The well to do bachelor, 39-year-old Henry Crampton had retired early at the family home on Scotch Corners Road and left his bedroom window open. He and his mother age 75-years, lived together. Not wanting to disturb him, his mother never checked on him when he was not about as usual in the morning.  


Mrs. Crampton went about her household work and noticed Henry was still lying in bed. She entered his room and closed the window. It wasn’t until Friday evening, nearly 24 hours later, that the terrible truth became known.


She sensed something was wrong with Henry and started for Henry Lowe’s about ¾ of a mile away. She met her nephew James Crampton on the road and they went back to the house together where the horrible facts…

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Dental Work, Showers and Showtunes — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Dental Work, Showers and Showtunes — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Dental Work, Showers and Showtunes Linda Knight Seccaspina

Last week I had a terrible dental infection and had to wear a portable IV for most of the week. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but the worst part was trying to take a shower. When I was told not to get it wet I asked what I should do. One of the nurses joked and told me to just try and use one arm. Days later I found out they sell long plastic gloves at the pharmacy, but at that point in time I had no idea. Being resourceful I pulled out one of my pink vinyl fashionista gloves that go up to my armpits. Yes, I have something for every occasion.

It wasn’t easy washing my hair with a vinyl glove on and it’s taken days for that glove to dry out. But, as soon as I got into the shower I started singing the opening lyrics of Barry Manilow’s song about Lola the Showgirl. The more I washed my hair, the louder I sang and I was suddenly back in time at the Cocacabana carefully doing a showgirl routine. Today, I have to admit it  was one of the most interesting showers I ever had, and it was fun acting like I was in a different time. Does time travel exist?  It’s up to you to believe what is true or what is fiction. This is a true story of what happened to me a few years ago in San Francisco.

August 2008

Last week as I sat down to enjoy a few minutes in the sunshine I met Billie. She was tall, had short cropped hair, and a white baseball cap on. Billie seemed to be the leader of the pack and also very high on something. It was almost like she felt no one else was there. She got up suddenly and started belting out the song “God Bless the Child.”

I knew it was a Billie Holiday song, and I was amazed at the performance she and her three back up girls were giving to the gathering crowd. She was Billie, no doubt about it. After the song, she sat down all out of breath and smiled at me as I gave her a dollar. I asked her how long she had been singing and she wiped her brow and simply said,


Suddenly she threw a bag at me and told me to look in it. I had no idea what might be in there, but I was intrigued. I used to collect and design clothes so I know vintage when I see it. Inside the bag was an incredible gold 1930’s evening dress. It was moth eaten and it could have used some Febreeze, but I was blown away. I asked her where she got it and she smiled. She told me she had worn it the previous night singing with Count Basie.

I saw a small thin silver cylinder her friend was trying to hide and I knew they were high on drugs. Sweet Billie was still talking plain as day like she had not consumed a thing. She told me she was a time traveller and that she was only here for the day. As I listened, she eased in and out of sentences about being in jail, and how she sang with Benny Goodman. I didn’t know much about Billie Holiday’s life but the words flowed with great sincerity.

I asked her how she time travelled and she smiled. She told me that when she feels time pulling her down she takes the subway train. Within the six minutes the train goes under the San Francisco Bay through the tunnel she is sucked into time by the volume of the noise. Being a huge fan of the late TV show Lost I never doubted her for one minute and I don’t know why. She took her cap off, smoothed her hair down and took my hand.

Billie asked me if I would come with her through time later on as she was going to open Carnegie Hall that week. She added she would not come back for a while because the police were looking for her and that is why she was wearing a baseball cap. I was told they would eventually catch up to her next year and would arrest her at the Mark Twain Hotel in San Francisco in Room #203.

I stayed at the Mark Twain Hotel in San Francisco almost 28 years ago. It was in a pretty shady part of town, but I remember that big red round Ottoman in the middle of the lobby like it was yesterday. I wondered what the Hotel had looked like in its heyday and who I would have been had I time travelled time like Billie.

“So you sure you aren’t coming?” she asked me.

I told her I was busy, but maybe some other time. With that she smiled and went back to the centre of the plaza and sang another tune with her girls. I saw the flower man and I immediately had an idea. I crossed the street and bought one of the dollar gardenias that were floating in a white plastic bucket. Billie had just finished her performance and I handed her the flower.

I smiled and told her,

“Billie, this for your Carnegie Hall Concert.”

She ripped her cap off and put it in her hair and said quietly,

“Thank you Mam, I will cherish it forever because I will always be the lady who sings the blues.”

And to me she always would be.

Have a great week and don’t forget to crank out some showtunes in the shower this week!

Alice Lang — Lightening Strikes– 1911


The Weekly British Whig

Kingston, Ontario, Canada • Mon, 22 May 1911Page 5

1891 Census


NameMatthew Lang
Marital StatusSingle
Birth Yearabt 1888
Birth PlaceOntario
Residence Date1891
Residence PlaceAlmonte Town, Lanark North, Ontario, Canada
Relation to HeadSon
ReligionRoman Catholic
French CanadianNo
FatherMathew Lang
Father’s Birth PlaceIreland
MotherAlice Lang
Mother’s Birth PlaceOntario
NeighboursView others on page
Household Members (Name)AgeRelationshipMathew Lang46HeadAlice Lang46WifeMaggy Lang17DaughterCathrin Lang16DaughterJames Lang12SonEllen Lang9DaughterAlice Lang6DaughterMatthew Lang3

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada • Thu, 24 Jan 1952Page 12

Documenting Martin Rashford Rosebank-Killed by Lightening

Killed by Lightening -or Death by Bear Devouring

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

Lightening Strikes Again –The Storm of 1972

The Day The Wizard of Oz Came to Carleton Place

S. M. Code Lightening Proof Plane?

Lightening — You Don’t Mess with Mother Nature — Or So They Told Me

Debunking a Postcard 1913 — Strange Ephemera

S. M. Code Lightening Proof Plane?


The Sad Lives of Kate and Margaret Lang

Bacon Up is Hard to Do

Did We Find Henry Lang’s Barn?

Henry Lang and His Lanark County Magic Barn?

Dedicated to my Weekend Protesting Hippie Generation — Nothing Changes Does it?



All Photos by Linda Seccaspina and dedicated to Kevin Army. In memory of when we covered the OCCUPY protests in 2011 in San Francisco and Oakland.:(


For some strange reason one morning I had instant memories of my teenage years as a weekend hippie. No one in my family was allowed to become a full time one, according to my father; so the weekend had to do.


It began one day in 1966 sitting at the Riviera Cafe with my friends after school, and listening to The Buffalo Springfield’s new song, “For What It’s Worth”. Everybody in that café instantly came together and sang the song at full volume until each note was over. It was a huge turning point in my life about standing up for what I believed in.


I respect everyone’s opinion, as this world would be pretty boring if we all thought the same thing…

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The Carp Flour Mill Fire 1991



Carp Flour Mill Fire

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada08 Dec 199

The oldest producing mill in the Ottawa Valley was destroyed by fire early Saturday. Volunteer firefighters were still dousing the smouldering grain and wood of the 164-year-old Carp Flour Mill on Saturday afternoon, more than 12 hours after the fire started. No one was injured but damage to the local landmark is estimated at more than $600,000. Fire marshal investigator James McBride said he would not be able to determine the cause until the fire was extinguished.

The mill on Donald B. Munro Drive produced mixed feed and cleaned grain for local farmers. A division of Ottawa Valley Grain Products Inc., the mill is operated by the Lindsay family from Renfrew and employs five people. Onlookers gathered Saturday to watch the mill in its final hours. Arthur Manchester, whose family had a farm on Carp Road, remembered coming…

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Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎



Photo–Patrick Kruz-Doyle @kruzdoyle The Old Almonte Flour Mill


Photo of the Armstrong family–Rob Armstrong‎

Yesterday the LCGS recieved a photo and two letters from  Rob Armstrong about his family and two company letters from The Almonte Flour Company from Almonte. The author of these letters was his Grandfather and Superintendent Ernest Armstrong.

Thank you Rob for sending these- we sure do appreciate it!

I put together a small photo blog about the company thanks to Rob’s ephemera.

Have you got any memories about the Almonte Flour Company-let me know in the comments.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal15 Feb 1960, MonPage 28


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal27 Jul 1965, TuePage 4


Letter from the Armstrong family collection–Rob Armstrong‎


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Jan 1968, WedPage 5


The account of the dust explosion at the mill in…

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The Almonte Flour Mill – Mr. Strickland –1961

The Almonte Flour Mill – Mr. Strickland –1961

Next time you sit down to eat a piece of bread the odds are that the flour to make it came from the Almonte Flour Mill. The mill, a landmark In the Ottawa Valley for almost a century is grinding out enough flour anually and the Valley towns the firm uses three quarters of a million bushels of wheat.

The wheat Is brought by boat from Western Canada by Prescott; and transported by rail or truck to Almonte. It is believed to be the only one of its kind in the area extending from Toronto on the west to Valleyfield, Quebec, on the east.

Phil Strickland a graduate lawyer who never got around to practising law because of his love for the flour business. Mr. Strickland, who took over- operation of the mill years ago shys away from publicity. He will talk at great length about the mill, but not about himself. It was only after an intensive Investigation that The Journal learned he had been graduated at lawyer in Saskatchewan In 1934.

The Ottawa Journal

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada • Sat, 5 Aug 1961Page 33

During the depression days —there just wasn’t work of any kind. I finally got a job In a flour mill and liked it so much Inst I have been at it ever since. I just never got around to practising he explained. MR. STRICKLAND said he was disturbed about a recent story which Indicated he was the Lt. Col. of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada when the late Major Gordon Sim of Ottawa took German- prisoners single-handed during a World War II battle at the Falaise Gap South, of Caen.

Wishing to set the record he said Lt Col. Nichoi Kingsmill, now practising law in Toronto, was commander of the HLI when the hamlet of Tournal-sur-Dive was liberated by Canadians in 1944 and. thousands of prison-era taken. “It was some time after Falaise that I took over as commander of the he said”.

Mr. Strickland also takes an interest in the civic affairs of this Lanark County town. He served a stint on town council was the former finance chairman. That’s all you can find out about Mr. Strickland. But about the mill, that’s different. Its origin has been pin-pointed to 1875 and it has been in constant operation ever since. Today the mill, which still derives part of its production power from two water wheels driven by the current of the Mississippi river, is on the threshold of new era. By next April the flour will be produced by the latest equipment In North America and present production will be increased by 50 per cent. Twenty-five employes work at the mill year-round and no changes will be made when the new equipment is installed.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada • Sat, 5 Aug 1961Page 33

In the Flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd

The Carp Flour Mill Fire 1991

Mello-Creme Cereal – Carp– AND — Mello Creme Bread – 95 Echo Drive

Almonte Flour Mills –Wylie Flour Mill

Philip Strickland Almonte Flour Mill 1959

Did a Dust Blast do in the Almonte Flour Mill?

My Summer Job at the Almonte Flour Mill — Tom Edwards

The Story of the Almonte Flour Mill

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong

The Brown Flour Mill Stories

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

Down by the Old Mill Stream — Carleton Place

Almonte High School 1961 Names Names Names -Janet I. Ritchie Scott series

Almonte High School 1961  Names Names Names -Janet I. Ritchie Scott series

Clippings thanks to Janet I. Ritchie Scott 

Thanks to the scrapbook of Lucy Connelly Poaps ADHS cheerleaders 1960-1961

Marks Received by Students At Almonte High School Who Tried Christmas Tests— January 1960– Names Names Names

Kathleen Downey — Miss Almonte High School 1958

Here She Comes —Miss Almonte High School January 1958

A Tale From Almonte High School –Dugald Campbell

Meet Janet I. Ritchie Scott — Keeping History Alive –Janet I. Ritchie Scott series

The Girl Guides Talking Stick Returns to Lanark County –Janet I. Ritchie Scott series

The Rencraft Fire Dept Photo Brings Back a Familiar Name



Last night I posted this old 50s ad from The Carleton Place Canadian I found in the files of the museum on The Tales of Carleton Place  as I thought “50 cents to being an extra lady” was amusing.

renwWho was the Rencraft Fire Dept?

The Brigade was made up of Renfrew Woolen Mill workers. The Bates and Innes Mill had their own fire brigade as well. Most people refer to this mill as the Hawthorne Mill, but it operated as the Renfrew Woolen Mill (Hawthorn Mill) beginning in 1933– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Badge from Pete Harris

renfrewThis photo appears to have been taken in the CP Council Chamber- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

As I looked at the list of names on the bottom of the picture I noticed a familiar name. Fourth from the left on the back row is Lionel Bigras

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The Day We Lost Hand in Carleton Place — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital




During the last week of May in 1980 a crowd of 350 people jammed into the Carleton Place town hall auditorium one evening. They listened and left angry after their mission was to find out why the directors decided to close the four-bed obstetrics unit at the end of June that year. They never really got a straight answer.

All the facts brought out at that meeting supported the decision to refer maternity cases to the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Meanwhile “back at the legislative ranch” Ontario Health Minister Dennis Timbrell said he too supported the closure of the Carleton Place obstetrical unit.

Timbrell insisted that an obstetrical unit was not handling enough births, and the current obstetrical unit might actually jeopardize the health of newly born Carleton Place area babies. Births had dropped in 1980 from the last 20 year period of 165 per year to 113. A quarter of…

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